Electronic Cigarette Health Risks and Benefits.
E-cigarettes were invented in China in 2003 but only began hitting the U.S. market around 2006-2007. E-cigarettes were invented as an option for those who want to quit smoking through a traditional cigarette, cigar, and other smoking tools. E-cigarette is a way to use nicotine among others options such as nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gums. However, the clear benefits and health risk of using e-cigarettes on human being are not clear yet.
What is E-cigarette:
E-cigarettes are evolving so quickly that we actually don’t know what people are smoking. E-cigarettes are battery-operated refillable electronic devices, where the different flavor of juice is heated. E-cigarette comes in myriad sizes, colors, shapes, and styles. The juice contains a liquid concoction of varying amount of nicotine, propylene, glycol, glycerin, and food-grade flavorings, called e-juice. Nicotine in the e-juice, as well as any flavor, is aerosolized and inhaled by the users in the form of vapor than smoke of cigarette.
E-cigarette: Benefits and Risk Not Clear
A few studies showing toxic carbonyl compounds such as formaldehyde and acrolein formed in e-cigarette aerosol when propylene glycol and glycerin, compounds of e-juice, are heated in an e-cigarette. Studies also reported high levels of carbonyls and other carcinogens in the e-cigarette aerosol when used in unrealistic conditions, including higher voltage than recommended one, so the higher the voltage, the higher the concentration of toxic chemicals in the aerosol.
Most scientist says, however, that e-cigarette are likely to be safer that cigarette because compared with cigarette smoke, e-cigarette aerosol contain fewer toxic chemicals and at much lower concentration. Further, a growing community of vapors and e-cigarette manufacturers are advertizing e-cigarette as an option to help quit smoking traditional cigarettes. There are many – many testimonials and unreliable evidence that vapor of e-cigarette has helped people quit smoking but little scientific data is available to support this claim. Similarly, little is known about the long-term health risk of e-cigarette.
May Need Regulations:
In year 2014, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported that the number of youths in grades six through 12 who had never smoked a cigarette but had used e-cigarette increased threefold, from about 79000 in 2011 to more than 263,000 in year 2013 (Nicotine Tob. Res. 2014, DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntu166).
Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act, enacted in 2009, which gave FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. Under FDA’s proposed rule, e-cigarettes companies would have to register with agency with data about their potential health risk. The proposal would also prohibit sales of e-cigarette to minors and require health warning and disclosure of ingredients.
Many medical organizations are also worried about the rise in e-cigarette use by minors. They are pushing U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to subject e-cigarettes to the same regulations as traditional cigarettes, including banning e-cigarette flavors that appeal to kids.
Therefore, still burning question is remaining whether e-cigarette will be proven to be any less harmful than smoking?
Reference: Britte E. Erickson, C&E News Washington, page-10, February 16, 2015